Chairman of US House Intelligence Committee steps aside from Russian Federation investigation

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

House Intelligence Committee Chariman Devin Nunes announced he will be temporarily leaving the investigation on Russian Federation involving the 2016 Presidential Election.

The leaders of the House Ethics Committee said it is investigating whether Nunes improperly disclosed classified information, apparently when he held a press conference last month to claim that Trump associates' names had been revealed in intelligence reports.

The complaints were filed by two ethics watchdog groups. They say he publicly disclosed information he learned by viewing classified material.

He was strongly criticized by Democrats on the committee for compromising the investigation by meeting with Trump and other White House officials who were potentially targets of the probe.

Nunes said on March 22, "I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition".

In a statement, Nunes said he chose to recuse himself after a number of "left-wing activist groups" submitted complaints to the Office of Congressional Ethics criticizing his leadership. GOP Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, with help from Trey Gowdy of SC and Tom Rooney of Florida, will temporarily take charge of the investigation, said Speaker Paul Ryan.

Democrats accused Nunes of seeking to protect Trump while ignoring the core Russian Federation allegations.

"If this thing has taught me anything it's that we need to focus on the investigation without talking to the media or anxious about whether or not there's going to be ethics violations or complaints issued on any given thing that's discussed", Rooney said in an interview.

Nunes said the calls for him to step aside were "politically motivated".

EWING: What Nunes said in a statement this morning is that there have been, in his view, scurrilous or unreasonable complaints about this incident in the House Ethics Committee, and he can't continue to lead this process and fight those charges at the same time.

But the committee chairman said today that Republican Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, with assistance from GOP Reps.

The House Ethics Committee issued a statement saying it would investigate allegations Nunes may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information "in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct". Nunes then shared the information with Trump without showing it to the rest of his committee.

Last week, the committee said it wanted to interview at least 20 people in private. It is, I think, worth noting that the investigation never went on hiatus. They have also accused Nunes of coordinating with the White House about the witnesses appearing before the committee, after he canceled a planned open hearing with the former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan, and former acting attorney general Sally Yates.

Nunes briefed Trump on the findings and kept the information from his committee colleagues.

There's a new Republican in charge of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into President Donald Trump and his campaign's possible Russian ties.

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